How Tech-Savvy Kids Are Wrecking the Effectiveness of Google Ad Campaigns
If you were a kid during the '80s or the early part of the '90s, you likely didn’t realize that you were the last of your kind. Every generation of kids going forward will, outside of an apocalyptic event, never know a world not driven by technology. When creating your Google ad campaigns, think about how often you see kids as young as five or six absorbed in playing games or watching videos on a mobile device.
What does any of this have to do with your meticulously crafted Google Ads? If they end up running on the same apps on which those kids spend a lot of their time, plenty.
How Mobile Apps Throw Off Your Numbers
The Display Network provides the capability of allowing your ad to reach 93% of online users. That includes websites, videos, and apps. The potential created can be limitless, but so can the damage that can be wrought by your ad’s inclusion in a mobile application.
It makes sense for marketers to have their ads seen on websites relevant to their product, and that is where Google Ads can be of real benefit. The problem comes in when those same ads appear in the latest version of a child’s favorite mobile game.
The Fat Finger Problem
Think about your actions when playing a game on your phone or some other mobile device. The only ads you will click on are those appealing to your interests, and you likely close the rest. Sometimes your finger placement is wrong, and you end up accidentally clicking through an ad.
Those accidental clicks go up exponentially when children close out ads. All those accidental clicks fool you into thinking you are getting lots of interest in your product, thanks to strategic ad placement. That makes it hard to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and figure out where you may want to make changes.
How to Avoid Miscounting Random Clicks From Mobile Apps
The following steps outline how you can examine your campaigns and see where your ads are placed.
- Select a specific ad campaign from your Google Ads dashboard.
- Click “Placements” from the left navigation sidebar.
- Click "Where Ads Showed" from the top navigation.
You should see a listing of previous ad placements for that campaign. Enter “mobile” into the search box to narrow the results down to mobile apps.
Excluding Mobile Apps
The Google Ads platform gives you the ability to opt out of having your ads displayed within mobile applications. You can do this by:
- Clicking the checkbox to the left of the placement, then
- Clicking "Edit" and
- Selecting “Exclude from ad group” or "Exclude from campaign."
- Next, click "Exclusions" from the top navigation to view all the placements you're excluded from.
- Click the blue edit button to add more to campaigns or ad groups.
A Matter of Money
Business owners can benefit the most from completely excluding their ads from all mobile applications. The extraneous clicks could end up costing them quite a bit, as they will not result in the desired conversion.
They can do this by adding "App categories > All Apps" to the Exclusions list within your Display network campaigns.
Pulling It All Together
Not all clicks lead to the promise of a conversion, especially unintentional ones done by kids on mobile apps. You can review your ad placements in the Google Ads platform by clicking on the "Placements" button in the left navigation sidebar. This will show you the placements you're targeting. Click "Where Ads Showed" to see where else your ads were displayed and determine if you need to exclude any of those additional placements.
Most businesses should exclude "All Apps" to save yourself a lot of headaches and reporting issues.
Want more tips to improve your Google Ads campaigns? Get your free copy of our "Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist."
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.